TAWG After Camp: You are Loved

It’s now been over a week since we were all at camp together. School is about to start back up again for many of us. Others have work. Our old routines are beginning to settle back in, and what we learned at camp may be feeling a bit foggy by now.

So much can change even in a week. You know what doesn’t change? God loves you, and He is with you.

He wants to see you succeed.

He wants to help you grow.

He never gives up on you.

He is walking with you through every situation, no matter how difficult.

 

Have you ever felt abandoned or alone? Have you ever felt like someone who is very close to you had pulled away from or forgotten you? Even our most cherished human relationships can include pain and difficulty. But let’s look at Isaiah 49:15-16 and consider how our relationship with God goes even deeper.

Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.

There is no other human relationship quite like that of a mother and a child. Yet even that relationship does not compare to the love and tenderness of God. Look at the verses again. God tells us that He will never forget us. Never, no matter what we do.

Take comfort in that today. As you seek to move forward and continue in the things you learned at camp, be aware that you might slip up. But God still loves you. As you go back to school, friendships and circumstances may change. But God hasn’t forgotten you. As you live with and love your family, there may be bumps along the road. But God is always with you.

You are loved. You are cherished. You matter. God has not forgotten you, and he never will.

Want More?

  • Romans 8:38-39
  • Psalm 27:9-14
  • Jeremiah 29:11-13
  • 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
  • Psalm 34:8
  • Psalm 31:19
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Rule of Life Series: Prayer

Luke 11:1-13

I was on my lunch break the other day, when I came upon a park. This park actually used to be a landfill. Now it serves as a preservation area. The only reason I knew about it was that I had gone there with my mom a few months earlier. She loves birding, and it is a prime spot for seeing certain species of birds.

I had about 15 minutes left on my lunch break before I needed to head back to the office. It was a beautiful, sunny day. So I stopped to take a walk. The wind was rustling the leaves in the trees that are scattered across the hills and grasslands of the park. It was there I spoke to God.

I talked to Him about all the anxieties that had been plaguing my mind. I thanked Him for his presence. I asked for guidance. I took some time to listen too. When I was done, I couldn’t help but wonder why I don’t do this more often.

In our passage for today, Jesus gives his disciples an example of how to pray. We’ve heard it many times before. For many of us, prayer might seem routine. Granted, we don’t pray enough. But it’s as everyday as waking up and brushing our teeth.

While there’s something to be said for developing good habits and for making prayer a part of our daily life, I wonder when exactly we lost our fascination with prayer. We’re talking to the Creator of the universe for goodness’ sake!

I walked under the sun with the wind at my back and I was amazed at the presence of God. He’s always there. We have these opportunities around us all the time. He wants to meet with us. Talk with us. Listen to us.

But we have to take the time to meet with Him.

 

Want More?

1 John 5:14

1 Chronicles 16:11

James 5:13

Psalm 141:2

Psalm 145:18

Week 11: Prayer

Matthew 6:5-15

Prayer is a word that we like to throw around and use on a daily basis. But how many of us truly understand what it means to pray?  What do you actually want when you ask someone to pray for you?  Do you have a particular way in mind of how things should pan out?  When you say you will pray for someone do you actually do it or has this just become some sort of phrase we use to comfort others?

Unfortunately, a lot of the time when we pray, we are doing so expecting God to respond how we would have him.  If you study the Sermon on the Mount you will discover a better image of prayer.  In this portion of Christ’s dialogue with his disciples Jesus tells his disciples how and when to pray.  If we truly take prayer to be as Christ says it is then our lives will be transformed.  When you consistently engage in genuine, meaningful conversation with God incredible things start to happen.  The more you listen and interact with God the better you are able to discern what his plans are for you as opposed to what you believe should happen.

Sometimes public prayer has less to do about speaking to God and more about speaking to the people present.  Public prayers can become wordy or mechanical, not allowing the Spirit of God to move.  Prayer within a community can be powerful.  Jesus warns his disciples not to pray like the hypocrites who pray to be seen.  You should pray not to impress but pray so that God may transform lives.  He also warns his disciples not to be wordy and empty in their prayers, but then instructs them to pray like this:

“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done,

One earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.”

This prayer is so powerful.  Take some time to analyze each sentence and notice how this prayer is focused on letting God transform you.  Try to pray this prayer each morning when you arise.

Lastly, I would like to encourage you to spend some time in silence – no music or distractions.  Leave your phone in another room on silent.  Let yourself be completely emptied of all worries and fears so that God may enter in.  Silence causes us to be vulnerable and open, usually helping us to learn things about ourselves.  In silence we allow God to speak.  Listen.  Even if you don’t feel that God is speaking to you know that he is present.  This is can be a profound experience.

God speaks to people in a variety of ways.  It is unique for every individual.  It can be hard to tell when God may be speaking.  Know that he will not command you to go against the Word or teachings of Christ.  This doesn’t mean what he asks of you will be easy.  Jesus asked a rich man to literally give up everything he had to follow him!

The more time you spend with God, getting to know him, the better you will understand how he speaks to you.  Take some time to listen today.  Don’t think about what may just have happened or what is coming, be fully present.  Be completely silent.  Try this for a short period of time one day and then later in the week try to go for an even longer time.  Make silence a daily practice, even if it is only for a short time each day.  Free yourself of all distraction.  Recognize the presence of God.  And allow Him to work.